Ecological Studies of Cypress Ridge

Motion-Activated Camera Study

Jennifer Berry, a local field biologist, has studied the land around Cypress Ridge for several years. This has included setting up motion activated cameras at Cypress Ridge which have captured images and video of fox, coyote, and deer traveling nightly between Cypress Ridge and the nearby Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge where the area’s only creek is located.

A coyote and a grey fox travel along the Wildlife Corridor (Berry).

The following video contains footage taken at Cypress Ridge and the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge:

Here are screen shots from the video:

There have been two in-depth biological resource assessments done of Cypress Ridge and the immediate area in the last decade. In 2011, Prunuske Chatham, Inc. conducted a study of Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve on behalf of the City of Sausalito to prepare for a fire hazard reduction project. And in 2017, Jennifer Berry studied the nearby Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge on behalf of Open Space Sausalito.

Prunuske Chatham, Inc., June 2011

Biological Resources Assessment, Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve, Vegetation Management and Restoration Project.

A wildlife biologist conducted a three hour survey of the birds, mammals and plants of Cypress Ridge to prepare for the City’s fire hazard maintenance project.

Jennifer Berry, Summer 2017

Biological Resource Assessment and Recommendation Report for the Lincoln/Butte Parcel.

A field study of the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge was made for Open Space Sausalito, the non-profit that owns and manages the refuge. The field study inventoried the birds and mammals that live at the site, the plants that grow there, and special status species that could potentially be found there.

Conclusions of the Biological Studies

Prunuske Chatham’s 2011 Report

From the report:

Based on the background search and field survey, the following biological resource impact determinations were made about the Cypress Ridge Open Space Preserve:

  1. The Preserve supports coast live oak woodland and patches of native coastal scrub.
  2. The Preserve supports habitat for a variety of common wildlife species (e.g., reptiles, amphibians, mammals).
  3. The Preserve supports breeding habitat for birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and California Fish and Game Code.
  4. The Preserve supports potential roosting and foraging habitat for special-status and common bat species.
  5. The Preserve supports potential winter roosting habitat for monarch butterflies.

Jennifer Berry’s 2015 Report

Berry’s preliminary 2015 report on the Saucelito Creek Wildlife Refuge, the northernmost part of the Sausalito Highlands, made these points:

  1. The site has been listed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a wetlands resource. It is only one of two such sources for water in Sausalito.
  2. The wildlife refuge is the northernmost edge of a tract of undeveloped land stretching more than 50 acres in size from Butte Street in the north to south of Rodeo Ave and includes Cypress Ridge Open Space. Camera traps have determined that it is crucial for its wildlife that the parcel remain undeveloped. The spring-fed creek is being accessed daily by wildlife in the area, including black-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, dusky-footed woodrat, bats and many other species.
  3. Species that have suffered dramatic decline in recent years are Pacific salamander and Pacific newt, both of which are present on the site. Many other special status species could be determined to live here, including the valley longhorned elderberry beetle, several bats, warblers and flycatchers, red-legged frog, and yellow-frog, to name a few likely to be found here.
  4. The wildlife here are in all likelihood landlocked, with the 101 freeway making a hard western boundary they do not cross. These wild animals spend their whole lives here in the city limits as our neighbors, and do not access the open space of GGNRA.

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Cypress Ridge in the 1800s. Sausalito Historical Society

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